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Former Israeli hostage recalls masses of Gazans celebrating Hamas kidnapping 4-yr-old Abigail Idan

Avichai Brodutch reunites with his wife Hagar and their children Ofri, 10, Yuval, 9 and Oriya, 4, after the latter four were held by terrorists in Gaza for 51 days, Nov. 27, 2023. (Spokesperson's Office, Schneider Children's Medical Center)

Hagar Brodutch recalled waking up on the morning of Oct. 7, when her neighbor’s young daughter Abigail Idan knocked on their door drenched in blood.

Brodutch told the Daily Mail about the trauma she and her three children experienced the morning of the Hamas invasion of their small community of Kfar Aza, and later as hostages held in Gaza.

“It wasn't her blood, it was her parents' blood,” the Israeli mother told the British news outlet. “She saw how terrorists, dressed in military uniforms, killed her mother,” she said.

Four-year-old Abigail Idan, a U.S.-Israeli citizen, was abducted by terrorists with Brodutch and her children. In November, she returned to Israel as an orphan under the hostage release deal, following the murder of both her parents.

Brodutch explained that her husband was in charge of the community’s security the morning of Oct. 7 and she was left at home trying to protect her three children, including her own 4-year-old son, along with Abigail. However, they were defenseless when 14 armed terrorists from Hamas invaded the home.

“It's only kids! It's only kids! Please don't do anything!” Brodutch urged the terrorists in Arabic in vain.

After being forcefully kidnapped into Gaza, Brodutch witnessed masses of Gazan civilians celebrating the arrival of the Israeli civilian hostages.

“The terrorists opened the car doors and pulled my hair [to show me off] to the thousands of people in the streets. Then they grabbed my daughter by her shirt and showed her off to the crowd. They were boasting that they had stolen a little Israeli girl. All the people were cheering,” she told the Daily Mail.

Brodutch, along with her children and Avigail were forced to live under difficult conditions in a private Gazan home for 51 days. She said the most difficult part of the ordeal was the feeling of being abandoned and alone.

“I thought that nobody cared about me. And that Avichai – my husband – was dead,” she recalled. “I thought that Israel had forgotten about us.”

“We were in Gaza for 51 days. A woman and four kids. On the first day, I believed that Israel would do whatever it took to come and rescue us straightaway. I never thought they would bomb Gaza with the hostages still inside,” she added.

While she and the children were eventually reunited with her husband in Israel, the mental trauma from the harrowing experience in Gaza will take a long time to heal, she said.

“Our four-year-old Oriya just can't be separated from me. He is with me all the time. Yuval, who is 8, has just started back at school for a few hours daily. Ofri – the big one – has nightmares. She is afraid of terrorists all the time. She is petrified by every little sound,” Brodutch shared.

The Israeli mother is just one of the former hostages who has testified about the hatred she witnessed and experienced in the broader Gazan population.

In December, the former hostage Mia Schem, a French-Israeli citizen, recalled her traumatic captivity in Gaza and rejected the idea of “innocent civilians” in Gaza.

“I experienced hell. Everyone there are terrorists… there are no innocent civilians, not one,” Mia told Israel's Channel 13. "I went through a Holocaust."

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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